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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Creating Common Understanding
By nsbyrer @ 4:30 PM :: 3568 Views :: Article Rating :: Planning
The words tutor, mentor,and education-to-careers have different meanings to the thousands of stakeholders involved in the tutor/mentor movement.

This makes it difficult to create a well-understood value of volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring, or a set of shared actions that would increase resources for programs within this movement.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) focuses its efforts o­n inner-city youth living near poorly performing schools or neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and segregation.

Since 1993 the T/MC has been constantly searching for new examples of Best Practice work being done by volunteer-based organizations in Chicago and in other cities. As we've found web sites that show the good work some organizations are doing, we've added the web sites to the LINKS Library.  From 1998 to 2005 the list of links at the web site have grown, but the navigation of the site has not made it easy for most people to find what they were looking for without searching through all of the pages of the site.

That has changed.  This new version of the T/MC web site has interactive features that enable visitors to search the site for information they are looking for. There are also features that enable you to rate the various links, or join in o­n-line discussions to learn more about different tutor/mentor practices and strategies.

The LINKS o­n this web site, and the Power Point essays in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, are intended to provide choices that any leader, volunteer, youth, parent or donor can use improve the quality of any tutor/mentor program in any neighborhood or city.  There's even a section with links to topics like eLearning, Collaboration, Innovation, Knowledge Management, etc., where you can learn strategies that would help you and your organization use these links as part of an o­n-going process improvement strategy.

As an operator of a Cabrini- Green area tutor/mentor program, we are constantly searching for best practices to help us improve our own work. Borrowing from the good ideas of others has always made more sense to us than attempting to reinvent the wheel!.

At the same time, we created the T/MC as a vehicle to share our own long-term experience as a model that others might follow. There are several million children and youth who live in poverty. They all need best practice tutor/mentor programs in their neighborhoods. Sharing what we know and what others are learning can lead to the growth of quality programs.

Drawing from our own experiences in addition to models of successful programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Quantum Opportunities Program, we've combined the terms tutor, mentor, and education-to-careers</ i> into a single, long-term strategy, that engages adult volunteers as mentors, tutors and change-agents in the lives of inner-city kids. We call it Total Qualtity Mentoring

You can read about Total Quality Mentoring in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of this site. We hope that the way we describe this inspires others to create power points that illustrate their own strategy for helping kids reach jobs and careers.  If you put this o­n your web site, and add your link to the T/MC web site, you'll offer others your vision of how a tutor/mentor program should operate.

As more and more organizations use their web sites to teach their strategy, this will provide more information for each of us to use to innovate constant improvement in our programs. It will also provide information for donors and policy makers to use in helping us find the resources needed to put good ideas to work.

We hope you'll keep visiting the web site and adding information. As more people use this as a resource, the benefit will grow to every o­ne who visits the site.

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